Ranking the Mega Man Classic Series From Worst to Best
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Ranking the Mega Man Classic Series From Worst to Best

The Mega Man classic series is known for its challenging platforming, iconic characters, and unforgettable music. However, which of the 11 mainline Mega Man games, excluding spinoffs and side games, could be considered the best?

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Mega Man Series Ranked

Mega Man’s beginnings may be humble, but its evolution over the years is remarkable. While some titles shine brighter than others, each one has contributed to the legacy of this beloved series. From the worst to the absolute best, here’s my definitive ranking:

11. Mega Man

Mega Man 1 Artwork
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While Mega Man is influential and laid the groundwork for the series, it’s also the most unpolished. The difficulty is wildly unbalanced, and it lacks the refinement seen in later entries. Despite its iconic Robot Masters, this isn’t a game I revisit often. It’s worth playing for its historical significance, but objectively, it’s the weakest in terms of gameplay.

10. Mega Man 7

Mega Man 7 Artwork
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Mega Man 7 marks the series’ transition to the SNES, introducing Bass, a welcome addition. However, the game feels sluggish compared to the already-released Mega Man X, and it seems out of place within the series. A couple of fun Robot Masters aside, the boss list is largely forgettable.

9. Mega Man 8

Mega Man 8 Artwork
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Mega Man 8 was a solid move to the PlayStation but is often remembered more for its flaws. Comically poor cutscenes and voice acting, notorious difficulty spikes, and questionable Robot Masters hinder the experience. The absence of the Rush adaptors was disappointing. Still, it’s not a bad game and hints at potential future directions that could have been interesting.

8. Mega Man 4

Mega Man 4 Artwork
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Mega Man 4 introduced the charge shot and is well-designed overall, with enjoyable weapons and stages. However, in the grand scheme, it doesn’t stand out as much as the top titles. It’s a great game, but not quite as memorable as the best in the series.

7. Mega Man 10

Mega Man 10 Artwork
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Mega Man 10 feels like a safe rehash of Mega Man 9, sticking closely to the formula that worked. While fun to play and featuring Bass as a playable character, it lacks the memorable impact of its predecessor. It’s a solid entry but doesn’t bring much new to the table.

6. Mega Man 9

Mega Man 9 Artwork
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Mega Man 9 revived the series with a retro aesthetic, which was a brilliant move. However, removing features from later NES games, even as a stylistic choice, was a bit odd. The bosses are solid, and the stage design and music are incredible. It’s a great throwback, but ultimately, it feels like a nostalgic homage rather than a groundbreaking entry.

5. Mega Man 6

Mega Man 6 Artwork
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Ranking Mega Man 6 was tough, as it’s a game I love. The music, stage design, and addition of the Rush Adaptors are all fantastic. It’s a very solid game, but the remaining titles shine a bit brighter in specific ways. It’s a great entry, and I wouldn’t argue against it being ranked higher.

4. Mega Man 11

Mega Man 11 Artwork
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Mega Man 11 was a breath of fresh air for the series, offering a full 3D experience with modern bells and whistles. The art style is gorgeous, the Robot Masters are fun and fresh, and the stages are challenging but fair. The added accessibility options were a great touch, allowing younger players to play. It’s a fantastic entry but still falls short of the legacy of the top three.

3. Mega Man 3

Mega Man 3 Artwork
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Mega Man 3 is one of the most influential games in the series, introducing the slide, Proto Man, and Rush. However, it was rushed (pun), and the late game feels unfinished particularly the grueling Doc Robot stages. Despite some of my favorite Robot Masters and music, its lack of polish keeps it in the bronze spot.

2. Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 Artwork
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Mega Man 2 is often cited as one of the best games of all time, and for good reason. It’s influential, with great bosses, incredible music, and nearly flawless design. The only thing it lacks is the slide and some polish. There’s little new to say about Mega Man 2 in 2024; it’s a phenomenal game that sets the standard for the series.

1. Mega Man 5

Mega Man 5 Artwork
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Mega Man 5 perfects the formula established by its predecessors. It includes the charge shot, slide, and Rush and introduces Beat. It takes everything from the first four games, refines it, and delivers with great music, fantastic bosses, and compelling stages. It’s, to me, the best the Mega Man classic series has to offer.

Unlike the Mega Man X series, the Mega Man classic series doesn’t have any truly poor games. However, preferences vary greatly among fans. Each game has its own strengths, and almost every player has a different favorite. I recommend playing all of them because one of them might just become your favorite, too.

Mega Man Legacy Collection 1 + 2 is available on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

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Cory Dinkel
Cory Dinkel is a freelance writer for Siliconera since 2023. An award-winning digital journalist, he has worked for local and national news outlets for nearly a decade. His favorite genre is the JRPG and he will not be taking questions during his "There is Not a Love Triangle in Final Fantasy VII" speech.